Sales Managers Need to Motivate Their Sales Team – True Or False?

Motivate your sales team Denise. Was one of the first instructions I was given when I started to manage my first sales team.

In the early years of my sales management career, I was told how important it was to have a motivated sales team. I don’t really remember anyone sitting me down and saying: Denise this is what you need to do to motivate people. Instead I learnt from peers and through finding my own way.

Sad fact not from my manager. He was ex army. Very stiff upper lip. I was also the first female he had ever managed. Though I did learn the value of having clean shoes and a well pressed suit!

Then one day I was attending a sales management training course. I learned an important truth–you can’t motivate anyone except yourself. As a sales manager, all you can do is “create an environment” in which your sales team motivate themselves.

It’s true that some managers believe that the way to motivate staff is with fear. The fear of managements anger, the fear of looking foolish or even the fear of losing your job.

While fear can motivate human beings, the simple truth is, only for short periods. Remember your biology lessons at school. Its part of a flight and fight mechanism that is only designed to work in small doses. The creator designed it to help us move away from things not towards.

It is worth remembering that one. By the way, generally sales people will only accept this kind of negative incentive for a short time. Then they quit.

I believe, that as a sales manager, creating an environment where your sales team are self-motivated is one of the most important parts of your role. The most successful sales managers make this a full time occupation. Though all to many don’t.

There are five simple steps you can take now that will help you to start creating the kind of environment on which you can achieve the success you want and deserve:

Step 1 Find out what’s important to your team

Make it important to create time to have a chat with each team member and find out what is important to them about the job they do.

Step 2 Listen

Having asked your team member what is important to them, listen. I mean really listen, make mental notes. Write things down later so that you remember. You have after all just been told what motivates your employee.

Step 3 Avoid judgment and respect their reply

We are each unique. We will have different things that are important to us. Avoid judging your colleague because they answered this question different to you. Respect their responses.

Step 4 Use the information

Think about how you can use this information to create an environment for your team to work in that will meet their motivational needs. It’s a lot easier to do this and know the team will motivate themselves as a result.

Step 5 Recognise success

Find ways to recognise your team members for their successes and their efforts. Remember to act as an advocate for your sales team members with your own boss, marketing colleagues and other upper management.

Apply these simple steps and your staff will motivate themselves to improve their sales success, if you consistently provide the environment. Don’t believe me though. Test them for yourself.

When you begin to use these five simple steps and make them part of how you work with your team, then you will notice how motivated your team are becoming and then you’ll become more successful than you ever thought.

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